312 A Battle on Borders
*Eldovian Era 1715, 17th day of the 6th month*
When in the middle of a battle, it was hard not to lose yourself to the Sensory Overload of it. The spraying of blood, the scuffle of feet, the war cries, the sound of flash meeting flesh, metal, meeting metal, the quick shik of a blade as it cut down what was in its way.
And the smell. Even after a year of it, Tigin had yet to not feel his stomach protest on the battlefield. Though he had got substantially better at keeping his insides where they belonged, in more ways than one.
Tigin swung the battle axe in a downwards arc, the blade cutting down between his enemy's shoulder and head, only to pause halfway through his torso. Tigin sighed and gave the axe a yank, separating it from his victim's body, which promptly dropped down. He turned, just in time to see a spear cut into his line of sight and block a sword headed right for his back. He watched as the enemy wielding the sword took three steps back, turning his attention to the spear wielder.
Sevis didn't give him time to ponder a counter attack, twisting word as he held the spear close, the blade cutting the enemy's throat before Sevis paused, holding the spear facing down at his back, he look at Tigin.
"You still have to work on watching your back," said Sevis.
Tigin heard another battle cry coming from the left, and he turned to take care of it as Sevis took care of two others.
"Yeah, but considering I would never have pictured myself here a year ago, I think I'm doing pretty well," said Tigin.
"Pretty well, does not lead to survival on the battlefield," Sevis replied, then he raised his voice as he called out, "Warriors! Ava Foe!"
"Foe Na!" Tigin called out with the remaining survivors within earshot. The call resounded along the battlefield as the Warriors quickly finished their immediate fights and turned to spiral around the dwindling number of Black Sands Warriors.
Tigin could see there were about forty of the Black Sands members left. Looking at the numbers on his own Tribe, they clearly had at least double that, but both sides had started out with two hundred warriors.
A battle won for them. But Tigin was beginning to question whether the losses they were sustaining would be worth it to win this war.
"How many casualties?" asked Sevis.
The Warrior hesitated before replying, "124 Casualties, 38 injured".
The head warriors sitting around the campfire all sighed in disappointment. Was this the best effort that twelve Tribes in the north could put forward against Black Sands? The answer seemed to be getting worse and worse as the border wars dragged on.
"And the prisoners?" asked Sevis.
"Sixteen surrendered," said the Warrior, "The rest, by your order, were beheaded and placed on spears at the border".
Sevis nodded, "Start preparing to go back to Red-Eye. We've lost too many and can't afford to get into another skirmish".
The Warrior nodded, but hesitated in leaving. Sevis looked up.
"Is there something else?"
"One of the Prisoners, sir…he claims to be of the Blue Suns, not Black Sands," said the Warrior.
Tigin looked up, then stepped forward, "Blue Suns?"
The warrior glanced at Tigin, nodding. Tigin turned to Sevis. Sevis sighed, then nodded, "Take us to him".
The warrior appeared pretty well beaten. Though none of his injuries seemed life threatening either.
"Your name," Sevis said.
"Alred, greets the War Master," said the man.
War Master. A ranking title for the leaders of Tribal War Bands. Sevis had been given commend of five hundred men a year ago. That number was barely dwindling at fifty now. Still, he'd proven himself a capable leader despite his losses. He needed to be. One never knew whether they were going to come up against a Black Sands War Band or the Djinn. Fortunately, they'd been hearing the Djinn's interference less and less recently. Not that it boded well for the future.
"Alred, my name is Sevis. You've told my Warrior here you are of the Blue Suns Tribe. Why is that?" asked Sevis.
"Because it is true, War Master," said Alred, "The Blue Suns are prisoners of Black Sands, they have been for many years. So long that many of us have forgotten another way".
"How many?" asked Sevis.
Alred thought a moment, "Perhaps a third of those currently inhabiting the Black Sands' city are of Blue Suns descent. Though we have long be stripped of such names and forbidden from calling ourselves anything but Black Sands".
Sevis frowned, "So when Black Sands hunted the Blue Suns, they did not destroy them, but assimilated them?"
"Yes, War Master," said Alred.
"It is interesting, but why do you use this now? Is it to beg for your life?" asked Sevis.
Alred shook his head, "I dare not. Indeed many of us started this war as Black Sands, but when word began to travel that a member of our Chieftain's family remained, we sought out further information"
Sevis frowned, "Rima".
Alred looked up in surprise, "Yes, War Master, you know her?"
Sevis looked at Tigin, who nodded.
"I consider her a friend, what can you tell us about her?"
"Gryffyn took her in as his long-lost daughter. But he keeps her in his Estate, far from prying eyes. Only those within the Estate see her. The Rumour is that following several escape attempts, the Djinn who obeys Gryffyn now guards her," said Alred.
Tigin cursed turning away.
"A long-lost daughter?" asked Sevis, "But Gryffyn never ever met Elva. She ran before he could".
Alred nodded, "Aye, there are rumours swirling about that too. Gryffyn has been growing more and more hungry for power over the years, he would not have even thought of starting a war with so many tribes a decade ago. But recently…some say he is going mad".
Sevis nodded, then turned to Tigin who looked at him expectantly, "You heard him, she's alive".
"And guarded by the Djinn," Tigin scoffed, "How are we supposed to get her back if she's guarded by the Djinn?"
"If I may?" Alred asked. Tigin and Sevis turned back to him expectantly, "While no one is sure what it is, there is a rumour that the only reason the Djinn obeys Gryffyn is because Gryffyn holds something valuable to it".
Tigin frowned, "You're giving away an awful lot of information".
"This war has been led along by a mad man for long enough," said Alred, "And if you can do anything to save our rightful Chieftain, if would surely mean that our victory is two fold given Gryffyn's apparent affection for her".
"The man has a point," Sevis sighed. He seemed to pause in thought for a moment before he nodded and turned to walk away.
Tigin frowned, "Sevis, where are you going?"
"The only place we can get help," replied Sevis without turning around.
Tigin frowned, "What place?"